Characterization of Potentially Toxic CyanoHAB Initiation in Slow-Moving Streams, Wetlands, and Oxbows

Science Center Objects

Targeted sampling in selected slow-moving streams, wetlands, and oxbows to receiving reservoirs and rivers will allow us to better characterize the hydrologic, water-quality, and biological conditions present during the formation and transport of potentially toxic cyanobacteria blooms.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has issued cyanobacteria Harmful Algal Bloom (cyanoHAB) advisories and warnings for multiple Kansas lakes and reservoirs every year from 2010 through 2020 for cyanobacteria and microcystins, a class of cyanotoxins. Lake closures caused by cyanoHABs have resulted in revenue losses of up to 40 percent due to restriction of recreational use. Repeated closure of recreational areas and restrictions caused by frequent cyanoHABs in reservoirs will likely cause the public to choose other locations for outdoor recreation. Dog deaths and human illnesses have been reported as being directly caused by the cyanoHABs in Milford Reservoir, the largest reservoir in Kansas. Milford, Tuttle, Clinton, and Perry Lakes are frequently affected by cyanoHABs and each contributes to flow in the lower Kansas River. Public drinking-water suppliers must adjust their water treatment processes in response to cyanoHAB formation in reservoirs and reservoir affected streamflow. KDHE investigates cyanoHAB events in response to notification of a potential cyanoHAB from the lake officials or the public that helps focus limited staff on problems as they occur. KDHE guidelines include visual confirmation, microcystin (a cyanotoxin) concentration, and cyanobacteria cell count criteria for public health watches, warnings, and hazards. Like many public health agencies, a lack of knowledge about why, or when, cyanotoxins are produced and how to control this process has limited KDHE’s ability to respond to cyanoHABs. The U.S Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) operates Milford, Tuttle, Clinton, and Perry Lakes and has the authority to close all or parts of lakes to the public in response to cyanoHABs but need to balance public health with the negative and substantial economic effects of lake closures. KDHE and the USACE would benefit from greater understanding of cyanoHAB initiation processes to help them proactively manage cyanoHABs and understand cyanoHAB occurrence in Kansas. This study will focus on cyanoHAB formation in the headwater areas above Milford and Perry Lakes and floodplain water bodies of the lower Kansas River. Wetlands, oxbows, and slow-moving streams can have increased water temperatures, less light limitation, and low hydrologic gradients much of the year, conditions that may favor cyanobacteria growth over other algal forms.

OBJECTIVES

The objectives of this study are to:

1. Characterize the hydrologic, water-quality, and biological conditions present during the formation and transport of potentially toxic cyanobacteria blooms in selected slow-moving streams, wetlands, and oxbows to receiving reservoirs and rivers,

2. Investigate the temporal and spatial relation between the formation of potentially toxic cyanobacteria blooms in slow-moving streams, wetlands, and oxbows to subsequent development of blooms in downstream reservoirs and large rivers,

3. Validate the use of satellite imagery from CyAN, Landsat, and Sentinel-2 for identifying potentially toxic cyanobacteria blooms in slow-moving streams, wetlands, and oxbows,

4. Provide water managers the hydrologic, water-quality, biological, temporal, and spatial relation of cyanoHAB initiation in slow-moving streams, wetlands, and oxbows, potential transport of blooms to downstream reservoirs and large rivers and subsequent development of blooms in receiving reservoirs and large rivers through collaboration, presentations, journal articles, or USGS SIRs.

 

Currently no results or publications associated with this project.